My drive home continued south on I-69, having picked up my granddaughter and her best friend in Humble. They were busy on their phones and talking to each other, so I retreated back into my head.
I graduated from high school in 1976, labeled by my high school counselor as “not college material.” I had no idea what I was going to do with my life; what I did know is that I was going to spend the summer with my best friend, Kay, who now lived in the Houston suburb of Friendswood. At this time I lived in California, but from 1969 – 1973 we both lived in what is known as The Lower Rio Grande Valley, specifically Harlingen, Texas. Her family had moved from Harlingen the same summer mine did and we had not seen each other in three years, but had stayed in touch.
To this day I can remember my plane landing in Houston. I was amazed by the greenness. There were trees all around the airport. Southern California hadn’t seen that many trees all in one area in decades. I won’t go into the details of this summer but suffice it to say Houston represented adulthood and freedom to me. When I returned home in August, I promptly announced to my parents that one day I was going to live in Houston. I came home with a direction for my life – I went to school to become a medical assistant which later led to nursing – and the dream of living in this large and exciting city.
Time passed and I moved on. I married a man from Harlingen and moved back to the valley, this time to the border town of Brownsville. A job transfer for him in 1980 landed us where? Houston. I was now living in Houston through no intentional effort on my part. Destiny? Coincidence? Divine intervention?
Call it what you will, I’ve never left.
I divorced, learned I could support myself and lived on my own for 3 years, remarried, moved to the suburbs, built a life, a business, and now discovered that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Houston gets lots of bad press: traffic, heat, humidity, glass & steel with no appreciation for old, no zoning, and I’m sure there’s lots more but not worth the time it takes to document. I had an epiphany about my place in this crazy city.
I fit here. Just as Houston is a rambling, free spirited, artsy, weird, friendly, mixture of cultures…so am I. We are fiercely independent and at the same time welcoming. I like that. In Dallas everything (to the casual observer) is tidy and organized, and therefore not quite as accepting of different. I’ve felt it. I’ve also heard from many people who lived there, that it is just a bit snobbier than Houston. They are white collar – we’re blue. I fit. I belong. I am the best of what Houston has always been. Maybe that is why over 41 years ago I knew I would live here one day. I knew back then that I was home.
So, now when I open a real estate app on my phone to look at houses – yea, I still do this – it is not longer the Sears Wish Book to me. It is an interesting almost voyeuristic activity that I now just view as fun. I don’t long for a place or life other than the one I have. I am grateful for my husband, home, and all my family and friends. To discard or minimize these things is to turn my back on the many gifts God has bestowed on my life.
Life is short and very precious. Don’t waste time longing for things that you think would make you happy; but, if you feel the Lord tugging at your heart listen and trust. Our own thoughts will lead us astray…He never will.